It Ain't No Fairy Tale Theater Review

At long last, the truth about weddings and marriage is told from the perspective of a participant who’s been there, done that and it isn’t afraid to shame the devil with the truth. The facts aren’t pretty, as if life ever is, but it’s definitely pretty damn funny with a serious lesson to learn. Lusia (pronounced loo-sha) Strus deserved the 2007 LA Weekly Award for Best Solo Performance of the Year because it was too excellent to ignore. Her vivid storytelling about the incredible marriage between her Ukrainian parents Nicolas and Eugenia and how she didn’t luck out so well in her marriage is so frightenly candid people might think more seriously about their marriage. And she’s cheaper and more cathartic than therapy.

The winner of The LA Weekly Award for Best Solo Performance of the Year

Don’t get it twisted and think that the lithe, golden haired Strus is against marriage or love. That doesn’t raise her ire. It’s the heavy emphasis on the wedding, the expensive caterers, the flowers, making sure people who aren’t friends do not get seated next to one another and the ultimate prize: the wedding dress. Strus’s blue eyes lit up like mass in a cathedral when she proudly announced she was devastatingly gorgeous in her Badgley & Mischka gown. All eyes were on this stunning bride. What she didn’t count on were the many sacrifices, that nobody ever talks about, in staying married. ‘They had a deal,’ she said about her parents throughout the show. Nicholas and Eugenia had a nonverbal understanding which made their marriage strong until his death. It isn’t something easy to pinpoint what made their marriage last. My guess was the adage Eugenia would say when a complication would arise, ‘What do you do?’ and preceded with the common sense route. Eugenia nursed him when the cancer ravished Nicholas body. Instead of giving Eugenia flowers to show affection he would bring prime cuts of meat from his job. They had a deal.

Lusia Strus thinking about all fairytale weddings

Strus’s own marriage wasn’t the success she was unofficially guaranteed. The wedding will go smoothly. The honeymoon would never end. Life as a wife would make her whole. She believed that volumes of bridal magazines she collected and ‘watching A Wedding Story’ from The Learning Channel. One day she woke up and discovered that ‘today’s honesty can be tomorrow’s bullshit.’ The dream she, and many women, were promised quickly crumbled. Reality set in and when that wasn’t suitable, she would tweak it to her satisfaction. That didn’t work either. The actress comes forward about her high expectations, how marriage is suppose to be according to Nicholas and Eugenia’s example. Strus is sincerely genuine in admitting her part of the failed marriage and still found something valuable to learn and share with the rest of us. 

Strus has made major revisions since the last time I saw her a couple of years back. The ending of the story changes coinciding to what’s going on in her life at the moment. The verve and excitement of re-telling how Nicholas and Eugenia married 10 days after their meeting, their move to Chicago after three years of being separated. Her parents are phenomenal. Their obstacles sounds like an epic movie when Strus explains what her parents went through. She does speak fondly of her own marriage with a little eye opener experience. She theorized that marriage vows are primal, based and thought of as romantic. Reading between the lines sounds like you will be giving more than expected and feel trapped. 

The actress in a pensive moment

She debunks the myth, piece by piece and reveals and honest, sometimes sad but always funny, personal account on how the fairytale isn’t what it’s been advertised as. But, girlfriend knew she wowed them in her gown.

It Ain’t No Fairytale plays at The National Comedy Theatre, 733 N. Seward Street, Hollywood. Limited engagement. Mondays, July 30 and August 6 at 8 p.m. For tickets call (323) 419-1316.

Photo by: Micha Owens

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